A bewitching vibrantly woven tale of female strength and fortitude in the early Middle Ages.
Vivid and spirited, Dark Earth spins a magical tale that feels as though it could have been passed down through the ages. After their father dies, Isla and Blue seek sanctuary in the remains of Londinium. I simply adore the mention of the brooch in the Author’s Note at the beginning, this introduction and the brooch stayed with me as I read. Costa award-winning Rebecca Stott creates a land and story that is easy to slip into. The descriptions imprinted themselves in my minds eye. This female-led tale is a melting pot of religions and cultures at a time when England was dominated by warlords scrambling for power. The two main characters each display different strengths that act as a magnet for the other. I felt as though this story could sit with the legend of Arthur, as though it has always been in existence, as part of a truth. The ending feels almost touchable, and I would be very happy to discover that there is more to come from this time and community. Oh, and I adore the cover, it’s not only stunning, it also speaks perfectly of the contents. I’ve chosen Dark Earth as a Liz Pick of the Month, thoughtful and engaging it spins history, magic and myth together quite beautifully.
The new novel from the Costa-Award winning author of In The Days of Rain.
AD 500. An island in the Thames.
Isla has a secret: she has learned her father's sophisticated sword-making skills at a time when even entering a forge is forbidden to women. Her sister, Blue, has a secret, too: at low tide on the night of each new moon, she visits the bones of the mud woman, drowned by the elders of her tribe who wanted to make a lesson of someone who wouldn't hold her tongue. When the local Seax overlord discovers Isla's secret there is nowhere for the sisters to hide, except across the water to the walled ghost city, Londinium. Here Blue and Isla find sanctuary in an underworld community of squatters, emigrants, travellers and looters, led by the mysterious Crowther, living in an abandoned brothel and bathhouse. But trouble pursues them even into the haunted city.
Dark Earth takes us back to the very founding of Britain to explore the experience of women trying to find kin in a world ruled by blood ties, feuds and men in quest of a nation.
|Publication date:||23rd June 2022|
|Publisher:||Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers|
|Primary Genre||Historical Fiction|
'Rebecca Stott has written an eloquent and heartachingly poignant story of sisterhood that echoes across the centuries. Evocative and richly mythic, Dark Earth pays homage to the quiet triumph of women working together to build a better world. A truly beautiful book' Lucy Holland, author of Sistersong
'A thrilling exploration of human kindness, ingenuity and cruelty, told through a tale of ancient London at one of its iconic points of destruction and rebirth' Alice Albinia, author of Cwen
'Gripping ... puts a female perspective right at the centre of a time period usually dominated by men's stories' Independent
'A magical and evocative book, which so deftly explores an era of British history which has been overlooked too long. Dark Earth delights, transports, chills and charms in equal measure' Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
'An ancient tapestry of legend brilliantly rewoven: hope, courage, men's violence and women's magic in an age of ruins and new beginnings' Francis Spufford, author of Light Perpetual
'Dark Earth skilfully imagines a past world in which women must use everything they have - kinship, secrets, spells and above all the power of stories - to survive the blood feuds and land grabs of national-building tyrants' Elizabeth Macneal, author of The Doll Factory
'Though Stott turns her expert eye back thousands of years, this novel pulses with the energy of a brave new world, a world as beautiful as it is dangerous, where a belief in myth and magic can save your life' Katherine J. Chen, author of Joan: A Novel of Joan of Arc
Rebecca Stott is a writer and broadcaster. She writes both fiction and non-fiction, is affiliated to the Cambridge history of science department and is Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at UEA. Her work, in radio writing, fiction and non-fiction, weaves together history, literature and the history of science. She is the author of the non-fiction book Darwin and the Barnacle.More About Rebecca Stott